Image Source: Luigi Mengato

Member Article

Invest in your people and culture now and reap the rewards later: the importance of investing in your people and culture

By Danni Rush, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Experience Days and Virgin Incentives and Virgin Experience Gifts

Cast your mind back to when the world was changed overnight. When the pandemic hit, employees were forced to work from home and many found the adjustment to the five second commute – from their bed to the kitchen table – a welcome one.

Many businesses introduced a variety of work perks and wellbeing initiatives to look after their employees. And, as we entered the post-pandemic world, prioritising employee’s wellbeing has not been abandoned by business leaders – if anything it’s been intensified.

With the cost-of-living crisis, the ‘great resignation’ and the energy crisis all building momentum, business leaders need to go above and beyond to keep their employees happy and motivated at work.

The important of fostering a healthy business culture In the new, competitive world of work, creating a robust, authentic, and sustainable workplace culture is key.

It’s well known that a people-first workplace culture leads to a more productive workforce and better business success – something Virgin Incentives knows all too well as it was recently voted “Employer of the Year”. Alongside a more productive workforce, prioritising culture and employees will also help business leaders attract and retain the top talent. In the mist of the ’Great Resignation“, the talent pool is as competitive as ever and employee turnover is expensive – it costs around £30,000 per employee. A good workplace culture that prioritises its people will be an attractive place to work, meaning employees will be less likely to want to leave and the HR managers also have their pick of the very best talent when hiring.

The conversation has also been ticking along about the importance of a work-life balance. Research has found that those with a poor work-life balance are more likely to report ill health and symptoms of burnout. Ensuring employees are happy and engaged at work and have time to enjoy non-work-related activities will reduce the risk of burnout which in turn will mean they’re less likely to take sick leave.

Tips on how to create a people-first work culture It may seem obvious but adapting a business’s benefits package is an easy way to create a people-first workplace culture. For example, some businesses provide their employees with memberships to ClassPass, offer exclusive access to sporting events or even allow pets in the office. Businesses that introduce work perks that improve their employees’ work-life balance are likely to foster a people-first culture more easily and also have better employee loyalty.

Another great way business leaders can show employees they care is by rewarding them for their hard work. Many companies offer corporate gifting options, such as gift cards to local retailers or have food trucks visit the office on special days. Rewarding employees regularly will help employees feel valued, cared for, and appreciated.

As well as rewarding employees for hard work, having a flexible working policy is an essential in this day and age. Research has found that two thirds of people would not apply for a new job unless it offered hybrid working, and a further 72% of office workers would prefer long-term flexibility over where they’re based compared to extra money. Flexibility is not a luxury anymore and businesses’ that understand this will be seen as a more attractive place to work. Why? Because hybrid working enables employees to have a better work-life balance, which will increase workplace happiness.

Finally, employers need to remember there’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ method when it comes to employees’ workplace happiness. Business leaders need to adopt a bottom-up listening approach to understand what makes each individual employee happy and work to customise policies to each employee to best fit their way of working.

In today’s world of work, it’s fundamental that business leaders prioritise their employees and their workplace culture. By putting employees first, they’re more likely to be loyal to their employer, be motivated at work and also be less likely to experience burnout. These factors will all contribute to a business’s success.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Lucie Hayes .

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